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WOODS ‘N” WATER: A silver lining in these dark times

WOODS ‘N” WATER: A silver lining in these dark times


Wow! I thought I had stepped back in time, like around the 1940s. And all this because of the coronavirus?

This vision from the 40s came back to me last Sunday when I was making my rounds in the outdoors to see what was going on. I saw parents taking walks with the kids and none of them were bothering with their iPhones or other electronic gadgets that have invaded our world.

The hiking parking area on I-691 just above Guida’s hot dog stand was filled to overflowing, with adults and kids hiking the trail. There was even overflow parking at the boat launch area at Black Pond.

At first, I thought it might be some illegal fishermen — this was before Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order that opened the fishing season 2½ weeks early on Wednesday — but it was just folks getting outside and getting a peek at Mother Nature and all of her wonders.

Our ever-beautiful Hubbard Park was also active with adults and children walking everywhere.

But doesn’t it seem odd that it takes an insidious disease like the coronavirus to edge parents and children into the outdoor world because of the loss of so many things that we now take for granted?

Would you believe that there was once a time when even though we were in the midst of World War II parents could actually be seen doing these very same activities, like taking the kids for a hike or a short walk in our great outdoors?

Our outdoors are still great. It’s just that we have let so many other things like computers, iPhones, tablets, electronic games and TV to take over our lives.

There is no telling how long so many of the restrictions placed upon us by the fear of coronavirus will remain, but it makes me wonder why does it have to take something like this to get parents and kids together into the great outdoors?

Granted, it is not organized sports like Little League baseball or other such kid-related activities, but just maybe some time off from all of this will give kids a chance to be kids once again.

Being the old curmudgeon that I am, I have fond memories of a childhood way before TV, computers and all of the electronic gizmos that have taken over the minds of our younger generation.

We used our imagination to while away the times that we had to ourselves. I grew up on Hanover Road (some call it Hanover Street, but to me it was always Hanover Road) and we had the woods abutting Walnut Grove Cemetery and St. Laurent’s Cemetery as well as the Quinnipiac River to get in tune with nature.

We even used our imagination to name some of the spots we chose to play in regardless of the weather. There was the “Snake Well,” a spring that generated out of one of the hills in back of Walnut Grove. Just above that were “The Vines,” a tangle of some kind of wild vine that inhabited this one spot on the hillside.

To this day, I have never seen another spot like “The Vines.”

Even in the dead of winter we would go there to play. You could lay back in the sheltering vines and soak up the heat of the sun.

I doubt if today, with all of the other options offered to them, kids would even spend any time exploring the woods the way we did.

And, yes, I do know that it is a different world out there now, but I wonder how many of those who have suddenly turned to the outdoors will continue doing so when this virus terror is over? Hopefully, many of them will become hooked on the outdoors and keep using it as a way to connect with their kids and nature.

And now that fishing season has been opened up 2½ weeks early, I can think of no better way for a parent to get on track with their children than to spend some time with them fishing. Such an activity does not have to be spectacular, especially for the younger kids. Forget all of the hoopla you see on some of those outdoor channels.

A simple fishing rod and reel, some bait like worms picked up at a local tackle shop like Fishin’ Factory in Southington, and maybe even a bobber to hold their attention as they wait for a fish to take their offering is all you need.

One of the best places for a first-time fishing trip would be Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park. Access to a fishing spot is really quite easy and you can even bring a folding chair or two with you so you can completely relax while fishing. I know this works because when I am looking for some down time while fishing, I find Mirror Lake to be the perfect spot.

And speaking of having disastrous experiences, I wonder if any of our anti-firearms politicians have noticed that when danger of any kind is imminent the population turns to the record purchasing of firearms and ammunition?

Why the sudden increase in the purchase of firearms and ammunition since the arrival of the coronavirus scare? The same thing happened after 9/11.

Now we have mass purchasing of firearms and ammo as well as the mass purchasing of toilet paper? Firearms and toilet paper?

Could there possible be a connection to them and coronavirus? Only time will tell, but I am sure that some of our Connecticut politicians will come up with a reason to blame the firearms and their legal owners for everything.

In the meantime, keep enjoying our great outdoors during these trying times and remember how great the time spent away from the electronic gizmos really was.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops as well as those brave souls who are on the front lines helping those who have been afflicted with the virus.